We spoke with Rep. Mark White for 10 minutes about charter schools and Governor Lee’s potentially poisonous ed funding overhaul.
Jerri Green is an attorney and a mother of 3 running for a House seat in TN-83, which is considered by many to be “the most flippable seat in Tennessee”, currently held by Rep. Mark White – who said he wouldn’t support vouchers, then did. Among other things.
“Many wonder how I can run with 3 kids… my answer is: How can I not?”
Support Jerri’s campaign: www.JerriGreen.com
FULL VIDEO HERE.
PODCAST ON ITUNES.
House Education Committee chair Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) is among the Republicans who have spoken out against Mary Pierce, one of the nine people Governor Bill Lee nominated for his new charter school board commission, because she used the children of Reps Mike Stewart & Bo Mitchell against them – naming the schools their children go to in an attempt to discount their opposition to Governor Bill Lee’s public school-harming SCHOOL VOUCHERS.
Problem is, Rep. White once did the VERY SAME THING to his opponent Jerri Green, currently running against him in HD-83.
Governor Bill Lee has nominated 9 people to be members of a new state charter school commission that has the power to overrule local school boards and ram charter schools down the throats of rural communities that may not want them for fear that they will drain resources from already severely underfunded public schools, which is what has happened in California and many places like it.
Tennessee has an “F” in school funding under this Republican supermajority, so the fears of rural school boards would be understandable, but the commission is on the verge of becoming a reality anyway thanks to Governor Lee and his Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn.
2 of Lee’s charter commission nominees, Alan Levine and Mary Pierce have met resistance from opponents.
The pushback to Levine came from Rep. Gloria Johnson, who rightly pointed out that Alan Levine was the mouthpiece for the company HMA, lying on 60 Minutes before they were forced to pay $260 MILLION IN FINES FOR MEDICARE FRAUD, had filed bogus charges against protestors in Kingsport who protested his company for over 200 days, and is the CEO of Ballad Health, which was exposed in the NY Times for SUING THOUSANDS OF PATIENTS WHO COULDN’T AFFORD TO PAY THEIR BILLS.
What a guy.
The resistance to Mary Pierce on the other hand came from Democrats and Republicans alike who took exception to her dragging the children of Reps Mitchell & Stewart into the conversation about school vouchers, going so far as to naming the schools their kids attend.
Rep. Mark White, the chair of the Education Committee, had this to say:
“You should never talk about someone else’s children.”
One problem — White did the EXACT same thing to Jerri Green, his opponent in HD-83, calling out where her children go to school to discount her opposition to Lee’s public school harming school vouchers program, which have been the source of much controversy due to the “bribes and threats” used by Lee to get them passed – including a military promotion – and used a $4 Million slush fund that seems to have appeared to grease the skids, and a problematic “sketchy” rollout around an overly expensive no-bid contract that “robbed” from teacher bonus pay which has even Republican leaders regretting their vote.
Here’s White outing Green’s kids EXACLY the same way Pierce did, in the Daily Memphian:
Hypocrisy much, Rep. White?
It’s worth noting that the school White mentions IS a public school – not a magnet or private school – it just has a special contract with the University of Memphis to help train teachers.
“It was our neighborhood school,” says Green.
If you feel like letting White know how you feel about his blatant hypocrisy, holler at him HERE.
And to learn more about Green’s campaign to unseat him, find more info HERE.
Rep. Gloria Johnson protests Charter School Commission nominee Alan Levine – subject of a 60 Minutes expose on MEDICARE FRAUD after which his company paid $260 MILLION in fines, and CEO of Ballad Health, recently ripped in the NY Times FOR SUING THOUSANDS OF POOR PATIENTS.
Ballad was protested for 200 days in Kingsport for a reason. Do better, Governor.
White supremacist Rick Tyler held a rally at UT-Knoxville, but his audience forgot to show up. Protestors outnumbered them 10-1. Sad!
Shout-out to Chris Irwin for the awesome trolling.
Republicans voted 4-2 to defeat The Tennessee Hunger-Free Students Act-a bill with three measures to ensure students can eat school lunches and not be punished when parents fail to pay meal fees or a meal debt.
The bill sponsor Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) said the bill would stop school employees from throwing away a served meal if the student could not pay, and would also prohibit schools from punishing or shaming students who accumulated a meal debt. Students are likely to struggle to pay for their meals every day. A lot of them struggle to find the time to work as they have so much school work to do. However, if these students really wanted to start making money, they could visit a website like https://learnbonds.com/bitcoin-robot/british-bitcoin-profit/ to learn about trading Bitcoin. That wouldn’t take too much time, so students could probably do this alongside their schoolwork. It might be worth considering.
Quite often, the students who accumulate meal debt come from families who are in debt themselves. Whether those are business debts, uncleared taxes, credit card or student loan debt – American families tend to buckle under the pressure of repayment for these kind of credit. It is true that there are financial institutions that could come to the rescue of these families through refinancing, especially in the case of student credit, which you can learn more about. However, many still tend to reel under the pressure from the aforementioned loans.
In fact, in 2015 a study showed that 80% of Americans are caught up in the chains of debt. Unfortunately, not many of these families will be aware of debt settlement and therefore they will continue to struggle. These students shouldn’t be punished or shamed.
“We certainly do not want to have a child stigmatized or punished in any way for simply incurring a lunch debt at no fault of their own. We have had incidents in recent years in Tennessee where students have been treated adversely or stigmatized in some manner. Whether it’s being made to eat in the principal’s office and eat a peanut butter sandwich by themselves simply because they had a lunch debt, or being prevented from going on field trips because of a lunch debt, we want to prevent these types of things… this is no fault of the child.”
House Bill 0827 would also have required schools to contact a guardian after a student accumulates a debt of five meals or more.
Here’s a clip of the vote:
Republicans Seemed Supportive, But Then…
Both Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, District 40 (last seen defending her support for the bust of the KKK Grand Wizard bust in the capitol by saying “some of my best friends are black”) and Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, District 83, spoke seemingly in support of children eating school lunches despite a meal debt… but would eventually go on to vote it down.
Rep. White said:
“Any adult who would shame a child over an issue like this-shame on them.”
But then he used his remaining time to fixate on the unspecified cost of school lunches.
The fiscal note included on the original version bill, which White read aloud, said local school districts would lose an unknown amount of revenue on meal debts left unrecovered, but “Otherwise, the fiscal impact of the legislation is considered not significant.”
Rep. Iris Rudder spoke up as she voted, saying she was inclined to vote yes but decided at the last minute that she didn’t understand the bill.
Reps. Weaver, White, and Rudder ultimately voted against the bill-possibly denying lunch to some students who incurred a meal debt.
It should be noted that the very same day this bill was voted down for reasons of fiscal responsibility the Tennessean broke a story that under Speaker Glen Casada taxpayers have paid $7 Million more to run the TN House, and that his Chief of Staff is being paid $200,000 per year – a $130,000 raise from last year.
It should also be noted that today Rep. Weaver today gave a passionate speech in favor of the heartbeat bill HB 0077 and adamantly insisted we do everything in our power to protect the sanctity of life – but apparently that doesn’t extend to children of school age.
Rep. Kirk Haston, a coach and teacher out of Lobelville, was the only Republican to vote in favor of the bill.
Rep. John Ray Clemmons, who is running for mayor of Nashville had this to say to The Holler about the failure of his bill:
“With this legislation, we intended to protect children from stigmatization and bullying as a result of incurring a lunch debt. As we all know, incurring a lunch debt at school is no fault of a child and is often not the fault of a parent who is doing the best they can to provide for their child. Under no scenario should a child should be treated differently or adversely or discriminated against in any way if they’ve incurred a meal debt in our state. This legislation would have protected our children. I am disappointed that a few Republicans killed what should have been a non-partisan piece of legislation to protect innocent children.”
How they voted: K-12 Education Subcommittee, March 6;
Representatives voting Aye:
Rep. Kirk Haston, R-Lobelville, District 72
Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, District 41
Representatives voting No against the bill:
Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, District 33
Rep. Iris Rudder, R-Winchester, District 39
Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, District 40
Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, District 83